A guest post by Laura Trotta
It’s no secret that our modern society is battling with the bulge. The signs are everywhere….
Plus-size clothing stores in our shopping centres, bigger cinema seats to accommodate our growing girth and airlines offering extended seatbelts to larger passengers.
Not to mention the weight-loss, health and fitness industries are booming, active wear is accepted as suitable attire for attending your child’s school assembly and green smoothies are just as popular as coffee (well not quite, but they’re getting there). Of course, these are all for good reason!
You know the stats and they don’t make for pleasant reading; fourteen million Australians are overweight or obese and if our weight gain continues at current levels, this figure will climb to 80% of our population by 2025. By the time our kids reach the age of 20 years, they’ll have a shorter life expectancy than earlier generations simply because of weight issues (source).
Before you think who am I to point the finger I want you to know that I’m no exception to the trend. I eat an organic, whole foods diet, measure my portion sizes and exercise daily (heck, I even do hip hop dance lessons!) but I still struggle to stay within my healthy weight range.
I’d always put my weight struggles down to genetics; I’m big-boned, apple-shaped and one side of my family are all obese (and guess who inherited their stocky build….). But what if environmental factors are also contributing to my weight struggle?
A sedentary lifestyle, poor lifestyle choices and a diet rich in processed foods are the three reasons typically touted for the battle most of us face daily with the bulge. But the weight management puzzle is a little more complicated than that…..
Researchers are finding more and more that environmental factors may have a role to play in weight management; factors including air pollution and chemicals in our foods as well as products commonly used around the home have been scientifically linked to obesity.
Sounds a bit far-fetched? Not so!
Most of us have heard of endocrine-disrupting chemicals (or ECDs) and know they have the potential to disrupt the endocrine system (that is, the glands that produce hormones, regulate metabolism, growth, development, sexual function, reproduction and mood) but our understanding of what these chemicals are capable of is still pretty slim. You could be forgiven for thinking the extent of their impact is limited to early-onset puberty in our daughters but unfortunately that’s just one worm in the EDC can.
Following from research conducted in 2009, the Endocrine Society released a statement emphasizing the danger of EDCs, and how they have linked EDCs to an increased risk of obesity, diabetes, infertility, hormone-related cancers and neurological problems, yet the causal relationship between EDCs and obesity is still not understood.
But what are EDCs and how are we exposed to them?
Endocrine disrupting chemicals can be found in everyday items such as plastics bottles and containers, metal cans, detergents, air fresheners, foods, toys and cosmetics. They include chemicals such as polychlorinated biphenyls, pesticides and plasticizers, in particular bisphenol A, or BPA.
They can enter our bodies through absorption (skin), inhalation or ingestion (food) and once in our bodies they can contribute to health problems by mimicking, blocking or otherwise interfering with the body’s natural hormones like oestrogen, androgens and thyroid hormones. Thus, EDCs prevent natural hormones from doing their jobs and they can alter the way cells develop and grow.
While better regulation for chemicals and better safety testing is needed to identify new endocrine disrupting chemicals and ensure they’re kept out of everyday household goods to reduce the risk to the general population, you can get a head start by simply reducing or eliminating products that contain EDCs from your household and making the switch to natural alternatives.
Be it your laundry detergent, cleaning sprays, fabric softener, shampoo, hand cream, kitchen storage containers or air freshener, safer and effective alternatives are out there and it makes total sense to make the change, for your health and perhaps even your waistline!
If breaking up with endocrine-disrupting and other synthetic chemicals in your home has been on your TO-DO list, check out my FREE Home Detox Training Series . A clean, healthy home without the toxic chemicals will soon be yours to enjoy.
About the author: Laura Trotta is an experienced environmental engineer, eco-living expert and the creator of the Home Detox Boot Camp. She loves bushwalking and scuba diving and lives with her husband and young sons in Outback South Australia. You can follow Laura on Facebook and Instagram